Let Your Weakness Be Your Strength

August 23, 2012

Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and semi retired from acting in 2000 as his symptoms made consistent on-camera work untenable. Since 2000 Fox has done voice overs and guest starred on various TV shows such as Boston Legal, The Good Wife, and Scrubs. But in Hollywood, as in life, you can’t keep a good man down. At the ripe old age of fifty-one, Michael J. Fox is set to star in a new NBC episodic comedy series inspired by his life experiences; he will play a disabled husband and father of three dealing with family and career challenges. The show is quite a homecoming for Fox who thirty years ago starred in the groundbreaking NBC hit Family Ties. So confidant is the NBC entertainment division in Michael’s star power and comedic acumen, they’ve committed to air a full season of 22 episodes even before a pilot is filmed. This is unheard of in current ratings-driven network television culture.

Michael J. Fox is a testament to the sticktoitiveness of the successful actor. Yes, he fell down; and yes, it was more than difficult to get up. But he kept looking for ways to overcome the challenges that faced him in a business that can be cruel and an industry married to the bottom line. Well, the bottom line in this story is true talent and hard work will always be served in time. It can be very easy to give up and walk away when it feels like the obstacles are insurmountable and fate itself seems to be working against you; but that is the crucible through which all great actors are borne. When times get tough and you feel like your dreams are dying, remember the philosopher Nietzche’s maxim: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” And every rejection and defeat just means you’ll bring that much more passion, heart, drive, and commitment to every role you’re fortunate enough to land. Michael J. Fox is an inspiration to all of us reaching for a goal that, at times, can seem out of reach.

The Dreaded Bad Audition

November 9, 2011

“I’ve had a wonderful time, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx

Everybody has bad auditions. Some believe in biorhythms, others say certain foods affect our moods and ability to concentrate, or maybe you just had an argument with a family member and are experiencing a lack of confidence—the list goes on.

Always remember this: you are not defined by a bad performance. Rather, your drive and talent define you as an actor. And really, there is no other teacher like failure.

Yes, failure can be a good thing–as long as you’re open to the lesson, and don’t beat yourself up unnecessarily. When you have a bad audition, it’s important to check in with yourself and examine what really went wrong. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Maybe you allowed someone in the room to throw you off. Or you partied too hard the night before. Or you didn’t prepare. Maybe you simply need to develop a thicker skin to succeed in this profession. While it’s certainly difficult for all of us to take responsibility for our own attitudes, words and actions, keep in mind there’s freedom on the other side of that challenge. Because you’re not perfect–none of us are–so forgive yourself for being human … and keep auditioning!

What’s your worst or most embarrassing audition story?

For celebriity audititons gone bad, click here.